SEATTLE - A union representing 16,000 registered nurses in Washington state has filed a federal lawsuit against MultiCare Health System for implementing a mandatory flu vaccination policy.

"This new policy will force nurses to get the flu vaccination or to wear face masks as a condition of employment and may result in the firing of nurses who do not comply with the policy," the union said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed by the Washington State Nurses Association, seeks an injunction to stop the policy from being implemented at both Tacoma General and Good Samaritan hospitals.

The nurses' union said in a statement that it supports a voluntary vaccination program, but that any mandatory policy should be overseen by the state or federal government.

"Any mandatory vaccination policy should be implemented on a federal or state level, not through a patchwork of hospital-by-hospital policies," said Judy Huntington, executive director of the nurses' association.

The union said it was in the midst of negotiating a flu prevention program it they learned from the nurses that MultiCare had unilaterally implemented a mandatory vaccination policy.

"MultiCare’s unilateral implementation of this policy blatantly ignores their legal obligation to bargain with the union," said Barbara Frye, the association's assistant executive director of labor relations.

"Their refusal to bargain and to cease and desist forced us to take this extraordinary measure to seek relief from federal court," she said.

The union said MultiCare’s proposed plan would require unvaccinated nurses to wear a surgical mask at all times while on duty even though there is a lack of research showing that masks actually prevent flu transmission.


Status of our bill and your help is needed

  Our bill was heard on the Senate floor on Friday, January 30. It has been assigned a number: Senate Bill 5755 2009-10. The sponsors are: Senators Oemig, Swecker, Regala, Fairley, Pflug, Zarelli, Delvin, McCaslin, and Tom.  The best way to easily stay updated is to use the following website address: www.leg.wa.gov/legislature and use the "Bill Search" tab near the top of the page(enter 5755).   

According to the website:

     The "short title" of our bill is "Concerning alternative health care practitioners"

       In reading SB5755 as it is posted on the website, Section 1 says: "This act may be known and cited as the health care choice act.";  

The direct-access URL is:


 After the bill was heard, it was referred to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. The next step for our bill is that it will have to be scheduled for a hearing before the H&LTC Committee.

  Senator Karen Kaiser is the chair of this committee. Our discussions with her have not been promising; she does not intend to hear the bill. That would kill it for this session. We need to convince her to hear the bill.  What people can do -- call/write their senators and the members of the Senate Health committee. Contact Kaiser requesting that she hear the bill.  


Senator Karen Keiser

Olympia Office:
224 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40433
Olympia, WA 98504-0433
(360) 786-7664
Fax: (360) 786-1999


You can send her email via the following URL:



 The other members of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee are here: 



Best regards,

Health Freedom Washington

P.O. Box 6555 * Olympia, WA 98507 *


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